Finding a Voice
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
I have got to stop going, going, going, going. Tour for 2 months, then straight here to my brother Jeffrey's place to be his business manager. Our first task was to get ready for his fall/Christmas open house and sale: cleaning, sorting, cleaning, emptying the kiln, cleaning, pricing pottery, arranging pottery on shelves, and cleaning. It was a good sale, November 10th--his best ever. I sang a few songs every hour or so and sold 6 CDs. A local lady provided baking (we paid) and a couple of neighbours helped keep the coffee and tea going and the mugs washed. Wow. It was a good sale, but man-oh-man, Jeff and I were wiped out for 3 or 4 days afterward.
While Jeff went back to his regular routine--bus driving, educational assistant, pottery making--I got into my new routine at the newspaper. Routine might be an optimistic word. This job in sales and reporting is fascinating and multi-faceted. I'm loving it, but it's an awful lot to learn and some days my head is truly spinning after meeting people and doing new things and writing new thoughts about events and people. Of course, Christmas season is the busiest, so if I get through this I can get through anything! I enjoy the people I work with at the "Cornwell Centre" and they seem to enjoy me. (The Cornwell Centre houses several businesses in a cluster of cubicles: alpaca wool and knitted products, embroidery and sportswear, Sears, greeting cards, Sasktel, stationery, User Friendly Computers, Watkins, and Last Mountain Times.)
This weekend I drove 4 hours to Spiritwood to pack my rooms at Mom & Dad's place. I thought I could do it in one day--Saturday. Nope. Sunday evening at supper I was my feet ached so bad and I was so tired that I just wanted to put my face in my dinner plate. Monday Mom & Dad helped me pack up the last things in my room and in my car. The drive "home" to Duval was actually relaxing because all I had to do was sit and drive and sing and listen to CBC radio and eat the nice roast beef sandwich Mom had packed. Unpacking the car was not so bad--took about 30 minutes.
After a couple of days here at the newspaper, I'm now heading to California. In 9 hours I will embark a plane en route to Los Angeles. On one hand, it's more traveling, which could be exhausting. On the other hand, I have no responsibilities and no checked baggage, only several hours of travel tomorrow to sleep and read, with good friends and American Thanksgiving dinner on the other end. These are my mini-retreats. Friday I'll take a 5-hour scenic train to San Luis Obispo (north of LA) to spend the weekend with my friend Becky (former roommate from Regent days). Monday I'll train back to LA and catch a plane home, hopefully arriving rested and rejuvenated and ready to settle in--and not go anywhere overnight for about a month!
Tuesday, November 06, 2007
"go to the land I will show you"
Jeffrey realized recently that he's now the largest employer in Duval--with two part-time employees. Of course, that's not hard in Duval, population 95.
I've taken another part-time job to help cover the bottom line and fill out my portfolio: working at the local newspaper, The Last Mountain Times, selling ad copy and doing a bit of reporting (with photography). I start on Wednesday at 9:00 AM. Not only is it good for the portfolio, it gets me out into the region, meeting business people.
Interestingly, the previous advertising person quit just 3 weeks ago, about the time my brother and I officially decided to pursue this new arrangement. Hmmm. All summer I looked and looked and looked for a job, with hardly an acknowledgement never mind getting shortlisted. So by faith I went on a house concert tour, and prayed and prayed and prayed, feeling a bit like Abraham to whom God said, "Go to the land I will show you," and hoping, hoping, hoping that God would show me the land soon, as I was wearied with drifting. Rachel Runnalls asked in September, "Do you think there could be a bit of divine interference?" I'm willing to bank on that ... now.
Sunday morning's sermon was about Abraham's tests and obedience. It spoke directly to me, affirming this move to Duval to be involved with arts and writing. The first sermon I heard at the beginning of my music tour was about Abraham's obedience, even though what God asked was both counter-intuitive and counter-rational. So this formed the atmosphere of my 7-week tour: following, watching, wondering, waiting, discovering.
After sermon this Sunday there was communion followed by a song and the benediction. Then Pastor Lonie went up to the mike and asked for it to be turned on. He said, "I don't usually do this, but I just want to say that God told Abraham, 'All nations of the world will be blessed because of your obedience.' There's a world out there that needs Jesus. Go and tell someone." This made me cry. This is exactly what I've been pondering all year in the phrase Sing Release To Nations. I have arrived in the land the Lord has shown me: the Last Mountain region. In a way I have come home to the prairies, yet there is something bigger. The expansiveness of the prairies evokes remembrance of the ocean (an image in my song "Prairie Soul") and makes me wonder about the world and how my obedience might be used to bless the nations. Perhaps, like Abraham and so many others listed in Hebrews 12, I will never actually see the thing I'm hoping for, yet am convinced that I'm part of a larger story written by a divine author ...
On Saturday Jeffrey and I had our first business meeting in his studio. He "threw" pots (pitchers, actually) while we talked and I wrote. How convenient to have work where a business meeting doesn't have to stop production! (I believe firmly that business meetings need not be a waste of time, since talking and planning are critical before executing ideas. It's the "measure twice, cut once" proverb. But it's nice when production doesn't have to stop for it.) Fun to dream a bit together as well as make some concrete plans. A couple of weeks ago Jeffrey was a little wary of dreaming, almost ready to sell the shop and move. We're wondering what the Lord might have in store and paying attention to his voice and guidance, watching for opportunities.
Recently my friend Janina asked if I feel at home here. In fact, I do. Spiritwood was comfortable, but I always knew it was temporary. As for this area, I grew up coming to Arlington Beach Camp at least twice a year. In 1990 Mom and Dad moved to Arlington, lived there for 6 years and attended the Strasbourg Alliance Church, so I got to know a lot of people in both places, and it just felt so natural to be at the Alliance Church yesterday morning. Sunday afternoon Jeffrey and I attended the grand opening of the Regina Beach art gallery expansion, and that evening went to the "Welcome Neighbour" event in Strasbourg where I was introduced as the paper's "new reporter" and received a welcome bag with five pens inside. I was almost in heaven! Simple things, you know. Last night I attended a worship team practice and was thrilled to fit in easily and to play instruments that I don't usually get to play (keyboard--bass & vocal aahs, tambourine, penny whistle) and to find such lovely vocal harmony with Linda & Heather.
Of course there will be adjustments, yet it's amazing to feel such belonging so soon ...
This week involves lots of preparation for Jeffrey's open house and sale on Saturday. The kitchen is basically ready. Need to dust shelves, price pottery, practice some folk songs (as I'm the guest musician), clean bathroom and office/l.r. area ... Come if you can.